Link to



Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 10:50 pm

Today was a good day! Grandma had a permanent pacemaker put in around 12:30. It was finished around 1:45 and by 2:45 she was back in her room eating breakfast. They’ve removed all the tubes she had inserted and tomorrow at 11:00AM they plan to release her. Todd will drive her to the palace where she will start rehab.

We are really thankful that the pacemaker surgery went so smoothly. It is always a fear to go under anesthesia and we worried it would weaken her but she bounced right back from the sounds of it.

That’s really it for today… I may not continue posting daily now that we are officially out of the woods (those were the doctors words!) and hopefully she’ll back to her computer as soon as possible, she’s tough and will get through rehab as fast as she can I know.

Totally random but my boyfriend Ty has been training Skunk, my cat of 16 years, to press the “Easy” button in order to ask for a treat. Tonight we got it on video.. check it out :)



Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 7:11 pm

Today was overall a GREAT day!

But let me start with last night. Last night grandma went into A-Fib (Atrial fibrillation). She came out of it but that was a scare.

So, this morning they started evaluating whether she needed a pacemaker again. I can’t possibly count how many times they’ve evaluated whether she needs a pacemaker but at this point our whole family agrees that it should be put in just in case, since it seems like 50% of the time they agree she does need one. But this morning they gave her meds for the A-Fib and said she didn’t need the pacemaker. I talked to Ally and Grandma at lunch time and things were going GREAT… grandma ordered her own breakfast of eggs, fruit, and like 3 other things that got rattled off faster than I could remember, ate it all. Then walked from her chair to the door of the room and back with a walker and a person on either side just in case but the helpers didn’t have to assist her at all. This is huge considering it was only two or three days ago that the staff had to 100% transfer her from the chair back to the bed at one point. When I talked to her she sounded just like she does normally… a lot better than the previous times that we spoke. She was laughing and joking around and cheerful. She also announced that she once again likes onions, so as far as I’m concerned all is right in the world! :) She said that when she was eating them and didn’t like them that she knew it was weird because in her head she knew she liked onions, they just didn’t taste good at that point.

So they were ready to move her to a private room today, monitor her for 24 hours then head back to Salina. But plans have once again changed. We aren’t clear on the reason or where it came from but a nurse told them that tomorrow she is scheduled to have the pacemaker put in. Ally will talk to the doctor in the morning to find out details but like I said earlier, just go ahead and do it so we can stop worrying! So it sounds like she’ll be in surgery for about an hour tomorrow, then get released on Saturday or later. The surgery should be pretty easy on her even though she is weakened, it is an outpatient surgery normally and the doctor expects her to get through it just fine. So I’ll let you know tomorrow how things are going… with all the mind changing she may have a permanent pacemaker or she may be back in Salina, who knows! :)

Since she (hopefully) doesn’t have long left at the hospital lets hit her up with some email messages again. I’m sure she’d like an update on current events or a funny story, etc. Let’s send them out so she has something to look forward to Click here to send message. I don’t know the room number, just put Peg Britton and they will find her.

Thanks for the comments on the previous posts, I know it means a lot to her to have her readers excited to get her back.



Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 8:52 pm

Good news today! Her 12 hour EKG monitoring went well and they did not find reason to perform surgery to give her a permanent pacemaker. They continued monitoring her throughout the day to be sure, but at this point she will NOT need that additional surgery which is great!

Tomorrow she is expected to leave the ICU and go to a step-down facility for 24 hours. After that she’ll be able to return to Salina to the rehab unit of the Palace. She will probably be in there quite a while getting her strength back but it will be much easier for family to see her in Salina rather than Wichita.

As Ally said today “she’s made leaps and bounds yesterday and today” so we are all very thankful to see things turn to a more positive path.

That is about all I have to report - I didn’t talk to them very much today which is ok because no news is good news. Goodnight!



Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 10:54 pm

Today has been a day of flip-flops but overall it is one of the best days grandma has had! She was out of bed sitting in her chair for 2 hours this morning and 2 and 1/2 hours this afternoon. She was mentally tracking much better than she had been before. I talked to her twice on the phone and I know Drew and Tyler also got to talk to her!

It seems she has some acute senses now as she can’t stand the smell of any food, or the taste. My grandmother, who begins any meal with tons onions and garlic, said today she doesn’t like onions anymore. For a long time she’s said she couldn’t taste anything very well and now something has her senses up and alert. I joked that her valve came from a picky pig (pretty sure she got a pig valve anyway!) :)

Around 6:00 it was decided that she needed to have a permanent pacemaker put in after the doctors saying she didn’t need one earlier in the day. I guess around lunch time when she was getting out of the bed into the chair her heart rate dropped into the 40s (it should be in the 80s). So there was a bit of panic about surgery. But then sometime around 6:30 or so a different doctor came in and said she doesn’t need a permanent pacemaker. Tonight they are doing a 12 hour EKG to get some definite answers and if they decide she needs one, surgery is scheduled for 1:00PM. We really hope she doesn’t need one because another surgery would put a lot more strain on her and she can’t afford to lose any strength.

She also requested that Todd send us (grandkids) a picture of her. She was doing a breathing treatment in the picture which will make Tyler proud :)

Tomorrow morning Ally is meeting with Dr. Fleming to go over the EKG results, etc. She still has a long road ahead of her and we need all the positive thoughts you can send - but today was a much better day! She also had a sense of humor which was good to hear again.


Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 12:01 am

Hi all, sorry this is coming so late. Not a whole lot of difference today than yesterday but a couple improvements.

This morning she had another protein drink for breakfast, she didn’t have complaints about specific pain but just feels horrible in general. They gave her a unit of blood to boost her energy, etc. They had her stand once in the AM. For lunch she ate some grilled chicken and fresh fruit, the most she’s had so far… thing still don’t taste/smell good to her, the smell specifically bothered her. A cardiologist came in and checked her vitals and thought she might not need the permanent pacemaker, so that would be good news but we don’t know for sure.

Physical Therapy came in and worked with her some, we’re not sure exactly what they did.

At dinner she had fresh fruit and oatmeal and she seemed to be tracking conversations much better for the 1/2 hour Ally & Todd could visit. Worked on her breathing and her leg movement.

Overall the day was better in terms of her eating more and tracking more but worse in terms of walking, transferring to the chair, etc.

Tomorrow all her doctors will be back from the weekend and Ally & Todd will talk to them about what could might be slowing her down. I spent too much time Googling (which can always be dangerous) but I did find a lot of mention of lupus flaring up after a major surgery. When she was first diagnosed with her lupus she was so weak and I wonder if it is flaring up now and keeping her from progressing. Todd & Ally will be asking the Dr about that tomorrow hopefully. She remains in the ICU which is great as far as getting a lot of attention, etc but we’d love to have her further down the road of recovery in a regular room. We will have to be patient, this is going to take some time…



Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 6:09 pm

Hi all, I know some of you have been curious to hear the latest about grandma and her surgery. Ally and I have been posting updates on Facebook but for those of you who don’t have access, I’ll recap on here. Mind you I’m in Illinois (unfortunately.. I’d like to be with grandma) so what I have is word from Ally & Todd so I apologize for anything that gets lost in translation!

Surgery was Wednesday and it went just as planned. She gave me a wake-up call at 6:15 and was in great spirits, they took her back about 6:30 and started the surgery around 7:30. By 10:30 they were finished and had gone to talk to Ally and Todd and Karen. Said everything went well, nothing unexpected. She went into recovery and they had to get the ventilator tube out before they could start any pain meds. By about 3:00 the tube was out and she was talking a little and eating some ice chips. She was very uncomfortable because of the pain, they had to play catch up on pain meds to get it under control. She hasn’t really complained about the incision or her chest pain, mostly just about her shoulders and neck. Evidently when they crack the chest they put pressure on shoulders to keep the chest open, so that explains that pain. They took her to the ICU.

When they saw her Thursday morning they found out she had a bad night Wed night and couldn’t sleep, but by Thursday she warmed up and her medicine caught up with her pain to some extent so she was doing a little better. I talked to her briefly on Thursday and her voice was strong, she just felt like crap. They tried to get her up to walk a little but her blood pressure dropped too low for them to continue with that, so she spent most of the day resting. Still in the ICU.

Friday morning she was sitting up in a chair which was really good. Her shoulder and neck pain was still really severe and she was exhausted (probably from not sleeping well at night) so it was a tougher day since we’d really hoped she’d be up and walking by Friday, but considering her age and other health concerns we just have to take it as it goes. They removed her chest tube which we had been warned might be really painful but she didn’t even say anything about it. We also found out she may need a permanent pacemaker. While doing the surgery they put in a temporary one and after observing her heart patterns, etc they have determined that the temporary pacemaker is doing most of the work, so putting in a permanent one will probably be necessary. They talked about doing that on Monday but no definite decision has been made. This is very common after a valve replacement like hers, and the surgery is very minor in comparison. As of Friday she still doesn’t have an appetite at all and hasn’t eaten anything much at all. Still in the ICU.

This morning (Saturday) Todd called and said she ate her whole bowl of oatmeal for breakfast and seemed to be a little better than Friday. Throughout the day I got updates that she sat in the chair quite a bit of time, ate part of her lunch. Todd went and got some protein drinks to help supplement her meals and she had most of that. In the afternoon she slept a lot. As far as I know she hasn’t complained of the shoulder or neck pain today, so hopefully it is not bothering her as much. Still in the ICU.

And that’s about all I have to report. Things aren’t moving as quickly as we hoped but we’re taking it a day at a time. Please send good thoughts her way, especially for strength to get up and start walking as that is the big hurdle she is facing right now. And if you’d like to send her a personalized message, the hospital has a website where you can send an email and they will print it and deliver it to her room. I don’t know her room number I’ve just been putting her name in for patient name and they’ve all been finding their way to her. Here is the link: Contact a Patient

I will update more now that I remembered the password to log in here :) Thank you all very much for checking in on her!



Filed under: prairie musings, Drew Britton — Peg Britton @ 2:02 pm


My grandson, Drew Britton, who works for Vectra Bank in Boulder CO, just gave me his year end totals.  Once again he’s at or near the top of the heap of 18 senior bankers and 25 regular bankers in production.  He was #3 in the company  for the year and #1 in December.

He showed production totals of $13,247,233.00 for new loans and deposit accounts for 2012.  He self-funded his own loans so that his totals for loans were the same as his deposits.  His grandpa always looked at those numbers and would be extraordinarily proud of him.  We all are very proud of him.

Congratulations,  Drew.


Drew, second from left, top row, and his friends who snowboard every weekend in the Colorado mountains during the winter.  He spends the summer months climbing the 14ers.


One of the highlights of Drew’s life…meeting the President.

Thanks for tuning in…


Filed under: prairie musings, family, friends — Peg Britton @ 9:54 am

Finally…after several months of concentrated effort, my house is empty and ready to show.  My sincere thanks to everyone who helped make that possible…Tyler, Cindy, Meredith, Dawnae, Deneen, Claudia, Preston, Les, Mackenzie, Mark, Drew, Karen, Todd, Ally, Becky, Joel, Willis, George, Linnae, all the clients at Mosaic, Meier’s Moving…and I’m sure there are others.

There will be advertisements for my house in this week’s INDY.  Look for future ads announcing plans that are being made for an exciting open house.  In the mean time, call Jessica Decker (785-342-0935) of REMAX in Salina if you want a private showing.

I’d appreciate it if you would spread the word that my house is for sale.  I’ve relocated, it’s in great condition and ready for new owners to move in tomorrow.

1404 N. Douglas, Ellsworth
• Contemporary, One-Of-A-Kind Home! Over 4200 Sq Ft!
• Secluded Location On 5 Wooded Acres (+/-)
• Amazing Views Out Floor To Ceiling Windows
• Beautiful Hickory Floors & Amazing Chef’s Kitchen
• Walk-Out Basement Includes Hot Tub Room & Covered Deck
• Call Today For Your Private Showing

Thanks for tuning in…



Filed under: prairie musings, Presbyterian Manor — Peg Britton @ 3:27 pm

I’m super-sleuthing  trying to avoid anyone who appears to be sheltering a cold or harboring flu germs.  My friend, Ivy, is feeling better today and had food delivered from the kitchen to her apartment.  She’s on the mend. I really don’t want to come down with anything for the next couple of weeks.  I haven’t had the flu since the late 50s, so I shouldn’t be all that concerned.

I’m pumping fluids in anticipation of having “lots of lines” being plugged into me.  It’s hard to find my veins under the best of circumstances, like when I’m pumped up like a water balloon.

I had dinner today with Doris, Hazel and Joy.  I much prefer tables of four where you can carry on a decent conversation with everyone at the table.  Most tables seat six and at those tables it’s difficult carrying on a conversation as the tables are wide and many of the residents having hearing problems.  At least you have a chance of exchanging pleasantries when you are seated at a four top.  Don and Barb Smischny live in a townhouse so they don’t often eat in the dining room but they had dinner with us today. It’s always nice to see them.  They come to this complex regularly to play bridge.

I’m gathering up the things I need to take to Wichita.  I’ll pack tomorrow and be ready when Todd arrives at 7:45 am on Tuesday.  Let the fun begin!

It’s time for the KU - Temple game. Downton Abbey is tonight.

Thanks for tuning in…



Filed under: prairie musings, Ellsworth — Peg Britton @ 9:25 am

Marci Penner and WenDee LaPlant of the Kansas Sampler Foundation are visiting all the 626 incorporated cities in Kansas to gather information for a new Kansas guidebook.  Here is their entry about my hometown Ellsworth,  according to ERV.

“Ellsworth is a thriving community — 3,120 people happily live in this county seat of Ellsworth County. “  It’s a good place to call home.

You can follow all the entries for Explorer Research Vehicle  HERE and on Face Book.

Thanks for tuning in…



Filed under: prairie musings, Presbyterian Manor — Peg Britton @ 10:30 pm


Residents and friends gathered in the lounge this evening to watch the K-State vs Oregon game.  Some that were in attendance were: Romaine and Elsie Swanson, Carolyn Lagerberg, Maybelle Mase, Dorothy Carmichael, Joy Mansfield, Ivy Marsh, Hazel Beggs, Ivis Meitler, Maxine Hammerli, Marilyn Obermeyer and Marcella Martin.  I sat with Ivis, Ivy, and Joy. Karen’s daughter and family were also here for awhile.  I know I haven’t included everyone.  It was a nice evening and those who attended enjoyed the gathering, but were disappointed in the outcome of the game.


Dorothy Carmichael was our cheerleader.


From left:  Maxine Hammerli, Dorothy Carmichael, Mabelle Mase, Karen Larsen and seated to the right is Carolyn Lagerberg.


Karen Larsen, the Palace activities director, had a selection of Tostitos, Cheetos, drinks, dips and Russell Stover chocolates. I found a couple of caramels irresistible.

Maybe we can have similar gatherings for KU and K-State basketball games if people are interested.  We can bring our own snacks and drinks as far as I’m concerned so no one is inconvenienced.

The Ducks won 35-17.

Thanks for tuning in…


Filed under: prairie musings, Ally Britton, Presbyterian Manor — Peg Britton @ 1:41 pm


They’ve organized a Fiesta Bowl for the Palace this evening at 6:30 in the lounge with snacks before the K-State and Oregon game.  I’ll be there to cheer on the Wild Cats.  It just seems like a good idea to have gatherings like this for residents before KU and K-State games so they have the opportunity to mingle and lend team support with friends.  It will be one more activity within a broad spectrum of activities to choose from. There are no shortages of things to do here that gather residents together, the main one being the noon meal.  For some, that’s about as far as they venture from their apartments so tonight will provide another attraction to draw some of them to the lounge.

I haven’t “joined” any groups at the Palace since I don’t play cards of any kind, games of any kind or exercise as those are the three main activity groups; however, Margie Wilson invited me to try the weekly trivia game that is held each Friday at 3:00 in the lower level. She enjoys it so I’m sure I will too.  It’s not hard for me to display my ignorance of trivia.  I hope to be on the team with Margie and Pete and Audrey Peterson.  They are fun to be with no matter the outcome of the game.

Slowly, I’m figuring out what to do about meals…eating…and what works for me.  One meal a day comes with the “plan” and most people choose the noon meal as it offers the widest variety of choices.  There are issues with concentrating on it as I have since I’ve been here.  I’m not hungry when I get up so mainly I have half a banana or half a granola bar with hot tea as lunch comes around at 11:15.   Then I eat too much at noon and oftentimes it just isn’t all that good for me.  Then, having done that, I’m not hungry in the evening and settle on the other half of the banana, or another piece of fruit and a handful of nuts.  So, since Ally provides me with good soups that are far better for me, I’m going to save up for that late in the afternoon.  I need to eat less and more often. Like my friend, Summer, said…when you only eat one meal a day, your body thinks you’re trying to starve it and it stores up all the fat from the meal you do eat, and you gain weight.

Today was a good example.  Instead of fixing a full salad, I had some cottage cheese and fruit.   They had ham and beans as an option for lunch.  It was okay, but not like “mine” that is cooked in stock and has onions, celery, garlic and pepper.  It came with cornbread and I only had a bite of it. I had a side of steamed broccoli that was good and a glass of tomato juice.  Rather than have dessert, I got a banana.  That was a good lunch, in my opinion.  Not too much.  I’ll have a bowl of Ally’s potato soup tonight before I head down to watch the game…and probably I’ll avoid the snacks, especially if they are fried.  It just takes some time to figure things out.  I know they can’t please everyone as they cook for so many.

I have the humidity up to 55% now in my apartment.  It is much more comfortable.

When something breaks or doesn’t work in my apartment, I just call the office and they schedule a repair person to come fix it.  I called yesterday on two things and they are both repaired.  That is so very nice.

Thanks for tuning in…


Filed under: prairie musings, Ellsworth — Peg Britton @ 12:52 pm

You are invited to the 65th Annual Chamber Meeting.

When:     Thursday, January 17, 2013

Where:    Ellsworth American Legion Hall

Speaker: Esther L. George, President and chief executive officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City

Citizen of the Year: Jeanne Haase, Dedication to the Youth of

Time:      6:00 pm - Reception (cash bar)
6:30 pm - Meal
7:00 pm - Speaker

Tickets: $20 - members               $25 - non-members

RSVP: By January 10, 2013 - Call 472-4071 or email

Pay in advance, at the door or we can bill you


Filed under: prairie musings, Ally Britton, Todd Britton — Peg Britton @ 10:00 am

I had visitors yesterday from noon until 7:00.  That was very nice.

Ally came to do some things “around the house” for me yesterday.  She put a new electric mattress pad on my bed, got the connections made properly with the wires out of my “trip zone” and  put on clean sheets.

She sorted through my refrigerator and got rid of things that were growing then found room for some of her wonderful potato soup and a fresh carton of milk.  She also said if I’d drink Meredith’s beer I’d have more room for other things.  She ran errands for me, adjusted the air pressure in my tires,  and got me some things I’ll need for next week including three light weight cardigans that won’t require that I raise my hands above my head to get them on.  I hear flaying of arms is not allowed following the kind of heart surgery I’m having.

As good luck would have it, my favorite State Farm agent arrived just as Ally was leaving and it didn’t take any encouragement for us to finish off  Meredith’s Labatt Blue.

Speaking of not raising my arms above my head, I’ll have my surgery next Wednesday at the Kansas Medical Center in Andover.  Pete and Betty Peterson tell me it’s a new, very nice hospital where all the rooms are private and there is a lounge/sleep chair in every room except for ICU.  Todd will take me to Andover on the 8th where I check in the hospital at 10:00 followed by a heart cath by cardiologist Mulugeta Fissha at 1:00.

From this test, Ellsworth’s very own and highly regarded Dr. Robert Fleming will determine the extent of my surgery for the next day. It will involve the replacement of my aortic valve and I don’t know what else, but if by-passes are indicated, he does that at the same time.  I don’t dwell very much on how that could possibly be done.  I just know Fleming has done hundreds and hundreds of successful surgeries like he is doing on me.  Maybe not quite a 1000 exactly like this…but nearly so, he said. I think he said he’d been doing over 300 various kinds of heart surgeries a year for 14 years.   The odds that my surgery will be successful under his watch are very good,  and that’s good enough for me. Bad things can always happen that are out of his control. He comes very highly recommended from doctors I talked with in Ellsworth, Anchorage, Salina, and Wichita.  In these conversations, I also learned of doctors to avoid.

They call this “elective surgery”.  That means that I can elect to have it tomorrow or next week, but probably not six months from now as my odds of surviving another six months without the surgery are zero.

Ally is going to spend the night with me at the hospital on the 8th (and several nights to follow) so she’ll be there when they wheel me out about 6:00 am for pre-surgery tubes, lines and happy juice.  Surgery is scheduled for 7:30 and will take about 3 1/2 hours after which I’m expected to start walking.  It’s going to hurt like holy crap for awhile, but that too will pass.

I don’t know, but if all goes according to plan, I’ll come back to the Palace in three to five days, or 5 to 8 days, depending on who I’ve talked to.  I’ll be in the rehab unit here for an undetermined amount of time.  I interpret that to mean several days, but the rehab people make that determination.  Rehab is on the main floor of my apartment building just beyond Kim Fair’s office. She’ll know where you’ll find me so come visit.  As soon as I can do everything for myself, I’ll come back to my apartment and probably continue rehab from here.  That’s about all I know.

I might also mention that the day Todd took me to Andover to meet Robert Fleming and arrange for my surgery, Robert  mentioned he knew exactly how I was going to hurt following surgery as he had had similar open heart surgery just seven days previously.  He said he opted out of pain meds as they made him sick and groggy and all he had was a Tylenol.  He also walked out of recovery. What a guy.

Thanks for tuning in…


Powered by WordPress